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Back Pain - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

Back pain or lower back pain can happen for several problems with any part of the interconnected network of spinal nerves, muscles, bones, tendons or discs in the lumber spine.

Some of the typical causes for back pain are:

  • The small nerves on the lower back may get irritated
  • The large nerve root (sciatica nerve) that go down to the legs may get irritated
  • The large paired erector spinae muscle may get strained
  • The joints, bones or ligaments may get damaged
  • The intervertebral disc may get degenerated

Although it can happen at any age, back pain, especially lower back pain occurs in people who are in their 40s. Back pain is typically characterized by a localized pattern of discomfort in the lower back area that mostly occurs after an event that culminated in stressing the lumber tissues.

The severity of this condition, depends on a number of issues, which comprises of the degree of the strain and also the resulting spasm of the lower back muscles that occurred owing to the trauma.

Diagnosis of back pain is generally done by the doctors based on the location of the pain and history of the injury. X-ray is usually performed on the patients suffering from this ailment which helps in excluding osteological abnormalities. The most popular treatment for all kinds of back pains or lumber strains consists of resting the back to avoid subsequent injury. Apart from that reconditioning exercises are also prescribed to the patients to strengthen the back muscles along with medications to relieve pain and muscular spasms. Local heat applications are also advised to the back pain patients along with massage which is often done by certified physiotherapists.

In rare cases back pain can also be a sign of CES (Cauda Equina Syndrome), which is a condition that requires immediate surgical treatment.

In patients suffering from CES, something compresses their spinal nerve roots, which cause severe pain. As the cauda equine are a bundle of nerve roots which is located in the lumbosacral spine and sends messages to the brain from the feet, legs and pelvic organs, inability to provide a fast treatment, often leads to lasting damage which can lead to incontinency and also permanent paralysis of the legs.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan is also prescribed at time along with a Myelogram (X-ray of the spinal cord after injecting contrast material into the spine), which aids in pinpointing the pressure point on the spinal nerves or on the spinal cord.

Can't be cured, but treatment helps Require medical diagnosis Lab test sometimes required Short-term: resolves within days to weeks
Leg numbness Pins and needles sensation Sensitivity to pain Muscle spasms

Popular Health Tips

Mind Your Posture

Dr. Dimple H Modi 88% (19 ratings)
Mind Your Posture
Did you know that your head weighs around 04 or 05 kg? all supported by some pretty small bones in your neck! a quick look at biomechanic of the body shows that when you are slouched over a phone at 45 degree angle. Its equivalent to placing 22kg of stress on the neck! this often translates into headache and pain down the back. Consider your posture!
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Stretches For Back Pain Relief

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Stretches For Back Pain Relief
Do these simple stretches regularly, atleast twice a day. While doing any stretch, as soon as you feel the stretch, hold for count of 5-10, and then return to starting position, repeat 10 times.
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How Ayurveda Helps Treat Arthritis?

Dr. P.K. Srivastava 92% (999 ratings)
Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS)
Ayurveda, Noida
How Ayurveda Helps Treat Arthritis?
Inflammation and resultant pain in the joints are usually the basic tenets of Arthritis. This joint disorder can be painful and often, a debilitating one. It can also make the joints stiff. There are many ways of dealing with this problem, but with Ayurveda, one can get to the root cause of the ailment and its presence. This helps in taking a well rounded holistic approach towards treating it with ancient know how that revolves around herbs and other natural substances which have great medicinal value, lifestyle changes, diet, exercise and Yoga, oil massages, and other methods. Arthritis is known as Sandhivata in Ayurvedic jargon. Read on to find out how Ayurveda can help in dealing with Arthritis. Herbs: One can make use of various herbs that contain Linoleic Acid to help in providing lubrication to the joints so as to prevent pain and stiffness. These herbs include Borage seed oil which is extracted from Borage seed, Evening Primrose oil, Blackcurrant seed oil, Capsaicin, Curcumin, Feverfew, Flaxseed oil and a standard Ayurvedic concoction that combines Ashwagandha, Gugulla, ginger, cumin and haldi or turmeric. These substances can help in treating the joints that are suffering from the pain of Arthritis. Diet: In Ayurveda, to treat ailments like Arthritis, it is usually recommended that a patient should start by flushing out the body toxins from within. Diet is one of the ways in which this can be done. A detoxification diet to clean the colon would be one of the foremost ways of doing a cleanse. Further, in one's daily diet, there should be a good dose of vegetables, fruits and other juices. Also, one must have plenty of herbs and spices, which can be used to season the food. Curd should generally be avoided and garlic should be used liberally. The various properties that help in an inside out cleanse that will help the system function in a better manner so that the treatment of ailments is also effectively supported. Exercise: In Ayurveda, a certain amount of daily exercise, which spans at least 45 minutes to one hour, is a must. A pattern of healthy eating, restful sleep and exercise is what usually helps in treating ailments like Arthritis. For this ailment specifically, light exercise like walking is recommended. Various Yoga asanas that involve sitting, standing, balancing and lying down poses as well as restful poses will also help in treating knee, shoulder and lower back pain specifically. Also, mustard oil massages can help in reducing the pain. These are the few ways in which Ayurveda can help Arthritis patients live a more normal life with minimal pain.
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Procedures That Can Help Treat Slip Disc & Sciatica!

Dr. Neeraj Jain 87% (10 ratings)
Pain Management Specialist, Delhi
Procedures That Can Help Treat Slip Disc & Sciatica!
The intervertebral discs are made-up of two concentric layers, the inner gel-like Nucleus Pulposus and the outer fibrous Annulus fibrosus. As a result of advancing age, the nucleus loses fluid, volume and resiliency and the entire disc structure becomes more susceptible to trauma and compression. This condition is called as degeneration of the disc. The disc then is highly vulnerable to tears and as these occur, the inner nucleus pulposus protrudes through the fibrous layer, producing a bulge in the intervertebral disc. This condition is named as herniated disc. This can then cause compression to the spinal cord or the emerging nerve roots and lead to associated problems of Sciatica radiating pain from back to legs in the distribution of the nerve. Other symptoms could be a weakness, tingling or numbness in the areas corresponding to the affected nerve. Sometimes bladder compromise is also present, which is made evident for urine retention and this need to be taken care as an emergency. Excessive weight, bad postures, undue movements, improper weight lifting and other kinds of traumas may weaken the intervertebral discs. When this occurs the pulpous nucleus will bulge against the annulus, or even be squeezed through it (extruded disc). The first steps to deal with a herniated or prolapsed lumbar disc are conservative. These include rest, analgesic and anti-inflammatory medication and in some cases physical therapy. At this point, it is convenient to have some plain X-rays done, in search of some indirect evidence of the disc problem, as well as of degenerative changes on the spine. If in a few days these measures have failed, the diagnosis has to be confirmed by means of examinations that give better detail over the troubled area, as the MRI, CT which will show the disc, the space behind it and in the first case, the nerves. In some instances, the EMG (electromyography) is also of great value, as this will show the functionality of the nerves and muscles. Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, one of the best alternatives existing today is the Ozone Discolysis as the results obtained are excellent and practically has no complications. This novel treatment avoids the use of surgery in 80% of those who needed it. In most patients left with painkillers as the only treatment, the symptoms eventually disappear, only that this could take weeks to months. Ozone speeds up these developments, see the same result in a few weeks. The problem has to be seen and approached integrally and frequently the combination of therapies has to be used, most frequently physiotherapy. Also, it has to be known that those who had a herniated disc have 10 times more chances of having another herniation than the rest of the population. If despite the ozone therapy the symptoms persist, Drill Discectomy/ Laser Discectomy are good alternatives before open surgery (Discectomy) which has to be contemplated in those true emergencies, as mentioned above, this is possibly the first choice. Once the conservative treatment fails: Early aggressive treatment plan of pain has to be implemented to prevent peripherally induced CNS changes that may intensify or prolong pain making it a complex pain syndrome. Only 5% of total LBP patients would need surgery & 20% of discal rupture or herniation would need surgery. Nonoperative treatment is sufficient in most of the patients, although patient selection is important even then. Depending upon the diagnosis one can perform & combine properly selected percutaneous fluoroscopic guided procedures with time spacing depending upon pt`s pathology & response to treatment. Using precision diagnostic & therapeutic blocks in chronic LBP, isolated facet joint pain in 40%, discogenic pain in 25% (95% in L4-5&L5S1), segmental dural or nerve root pain in 14% & sacroiliac joint pain in 15% of the patients. This article describes successful interventions of these common causes of LBP after conservative treatment has failed. LESI: Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection Indicated in Acute radicular pain due to irritation or inflammation. Symptomatic herniated disc with failed conservative therapy Acute exacerbation of discogenic pain or pain of spinal stenosis Neoplastic infiltration of roots Epidural fibrosis Chronic LBP with acute radicular symptoms Epidural- lumbar injection ESI Treatment Plan Compared to interlaminar approach better results are found with a transforaminal approach where drugs (steroid+ LA/saline +/- hyalase) are injected into anterior epidural space & neural foramen area where herniated disc or offending nociceptors are located. Whereas in interlaminar approach most of drug is deposited in posterior epidural space.Drugs are injected total 6-10 ml at lumbar, 3-6 ml at cervical & 20+ ml, if caudal approach is selected. Lumbar ESI is performed close to the level of radiculopathy, often using paramedian approach to target the lateral aspect of the epidural space on involved side. Cervical epidural is performed at C7-T1 level. SNRB- Selective Nerve Root Block Fluoroscopically performed it is a good diagnostic & therapeutic procedure for radiculopathy pain if There is minimal or no radiological finding. Multilevel imaging abnormalities Equivocal neurological examination finding or discrepancy between clinical & radiological signs Postop patient with unexplainable or recurrent pain Combined canal & lateral recess stenosis. To find out the pathological dermatome for more invasive procedures, if needed Intradiscal Procedures Provocative Discography - Coupled with CT A diagnostic procedure & prognostic indicator for surgical outcome is necessary for the evaluation of patients with suspected discogenic pain, its ability to reproduce pain(even with normal radiological finding), to determine type of disc herniation /tear, finding surgical options & in assessing previously operated spines. Percutaneous Disc Decompression (PDD) After diagnosing the level of painful offending disc various percutaneous intradiscal procedures can be employed Ozone Discolysis: Ozone Discectomy a revolutionary least invasive safe & effective alternative to spine surgery is the treatment of choice for prolapsed disc (PIVD) done under local anaesthesia in a daycare setting. This procedure is ideally suited for cervical & lumbar disc herniation with radiculopathy. The total cost of the procedure is much less than that of surgical discectomy. All these facts have made this procedure very popular at European countries. It is also gaining popularity in our country due to high success rate, less invasiveness, fewer chances of recurrences, remarkably fewer side effects meaning high safety profile, short hospital stay, no postoperative discomfort or morbidity and low cost. Dekompressor: A mechanical percutaneous nucleosome cuts & drills out the disc material somewhat like morcirator debulking the disc reducing nerve compression. Epidural Adhenolysis or Percutaneous Decompressive Neuroplasty for Epidural Fibrosis or Adhesions in Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS) A catheter is inserted in epidural space via caudal/ interlaminar/ transforaminal approach. After epidurography testing volumetric irrigation with normal saline/ L.A./ hyalase/ steroids/ hypertonic saline in different combinations is then performed along with mechanical adenolysis with spring loaded or stellated catheters or under direct vision with epiduroscope.
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Homeopathic Remedies For Musculoskeletal Problems!

Dr. Yogesh Khandelwal 85% (16 ratings)
Homeopath, Jaipur
Homeopathic Remedies For Musculoskeletal Problems!
The human body has a sophisticated system of bones, joints, muscles, cartilages, and tendons which coordinate marvellously to allow for various bodily movements. Due to various reasons, however, these get affected leading to inability to move, stiffness, painful movement and reduced range of motion. Most of these are chronic conditions and require lifestyle changes with diet modifications, exercises, and weight management. This is where homoeopathy plays a significant role in these conditions, where the disease is controlled over a period of time with the restoration of improved quality of life. Cervical or lumbar spondylosis: The neck and spine is a very important part of the musculoskeletal system. They also house the nerve and blood supply system to and from the brain and the rest of the body. The spondylosis leads to chronic neck pain and/or back pain and can be very limiting for the patient. Conium, Kalmia, Gelsemium, Silicea, and Calcarea Phos are some commonly used compounds which control the symptoms of spondylosis effectively in spondylosis affected people. Backache: Backache is a symptom and the underlying cause could be multiple including sedentary lifestyle with prolonged sitting, stress, obesity, accidents, injury, trauma, etc. Whatever the cause, in most people, it turns out to be a chronic issue requiring repeated use of painkillers, which bring a host of side effects. Homeopathy has effective remedies which can be used safely for prolonged periods, including Arnica, Rhus Tox, Kali Carb, Bryonia, Mag Phos, etc. The doctor will ask for potential causes and associated symptoms before deciding on the right agent. Rheumatoid arthritis: An autoimmune disease that lead to generalised inflamed joints that are swollen and red, stiff in the morning, and get worse during cold weather. Causticum, Bryonia, Caulophyllum, Ledum Pal, and Colchicum are some effectively used remedies for managing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis: This is inflammation of the joints associated with old age where degeneration of the cushioning cartilage affects joint movement leading to stiff joints and painful movements. Depending on whether the hip, knee, or finger is affected, the following compounds are used: Colcynthis, Antimonium Crudum, Bryonia Alba, Calcarea Carbonica, Sulphur, Rhus Toxicodendron, and Pulsatilla Nigricans. Gout: Excessive uric acid in the body leads to accumulation of urate crystals in the joints, leading to painful swelling of the joints. The most affected part in the body is big toe followed by ankles, knees and wrists. Colchicum, Benzoic acid, Ledum Pal, Antim Crudum, and Sabina are some of the common ingredients used in managing gout. Calcium deficiency: Calcium is extremely essential for healthy bones, and calcium deficiency can lead to weak/brittle bones and osteoporosis that are more prone to fracture. Especially in women over 40 years of age and growing children, calcium supplements are advised for good bone health. Calcarea carbonica, symphytum, calcium phosphate, and silica are useful in restoring calcium levels through homoeopathy. In all these conditions, in addition to supplements, the doctor would also provide some dietary recommendations and exercises targeted at the affected joints to improve overall health.
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Popular Questions & Answers

I have back pain, due to over masturbation and also I have knock sound in my knees. What is the way to realise from them, and what kind of medicine I will take. Please help me.

Dr. Anuradha Sharma 89% (13672 ratings)
MPT - Orthopedic Physiotherapy, BPTh/BPT
Physiotherapist, Noida
Avoid strain full activity. Tk supplement and do stretching exercises of back and quadriceps exercises for knee. Hot fermentation twice a day.
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After delivery is it necessary to take bed rest? If yes then how many days? Because mine is C-SECTION delivery. Am already suffering from lower back pain.

Dr. Julie Mercy J David Raja 90% (3321 ratings)
Erasmus Mundus Master in Adapted Physical Activity, MPT, BPTh/BPT
Physiotherapist, Chennai
Yes definitely but after 4-6 weeks you can feel better and yo have to wear abdominal belt which will help you to feel better.

Myself 27 year old female, having pain in lower back (right side) and it become tilt after sitting continuously. Kindly suggest me for betterment.

Dr. Padnani Rajesh 90% (29 ratings)
Physiotherapist, Rajkot
1.wear Lumbar support belt. 2. Don't bend forward. 3. Don't lift weight 4. Do back extension exercise.
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Hi sir, I am 24 years old and height 6.2 and I have severe back pain (L4-S1) for last 3 years due to nerve pressed pain from hip and right leg and severe pain in knee, ankle and in feet .i have done physiotherapy what should I do, in 2014 I got surgery and there is no improvement after surgery. And is there any problems after marriage. Please help me.

Dr. Sandeep Nirmal 89% (107 ratings)
Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS), Diploma In Panchkarma
Ayurveda, Jhalawar
Hi Lybrate user! to rid your problem take ayurved treatment. And panchkarma therapy like kati vast, sarwang dhara. And kaal vasti. For further consult me privately.

My left leg feet is very pain in back side. That will be reduced and increased is automatically.

Dr. Pinky Parekh 86% (934 ratings)
Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), Bachelor of Physical Therapy
Physiotherapist, Hyderabad
The pain may be due to tight calf or hamstring muscles. It can an also be referred pain from low back. You need to consult a Physiotherapist for proper treatment plan.

Health Quizzes

Ayurvedic Treatment for Lower Back Pain!!

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Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS)
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Back pain can be psychosomatic. True or False. Take this quiz to know now!
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Age Does Not Matter When It Comes To Back Pain. True or False?
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Back Pain Myths and Facts

Take this 1 minute quiz to test your smarts, and get great tips about back pain!
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